Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry

Blog Post 3

March 30, 2014

Imagine an embroidered cloth, around 230 ft. long, that depicts many events, all in amazing imagery, and all done on one long piece of cloth. This is what the Bayeux Tapestry accomplished. The Bayeux Tapestry is a supreme accomplishment that depicts scenes from the Norman conquest of England, which included William, Duke of Normandy and Harold, Earl of Wessex (who later became King of England) in the Battle of Hastings.

Although not a true tapestry, where the design is actually woven into the cloth, indeed it is magnificent embroidery. The Bayeux Tapestry’s survival isn’t the only amazing; its length, colors, workmanship and harmony is something that surprises many as they view this spectacular work of art. This tapestry contains over 60 endless fascinating scenes that contain Latin writings embroidered on the cloth. The scenes are embroidered with wool yarn on tabby-woven linen estimated to be about 224.3 ft × 1.6 ft, and is estimated to be longer since historians suggest that some pieces are missing. Two different methods were used to create these scenes, outline or stem stitch for lettering and the outlines of figures and couching or laid work for filling in figures. As each panel was completed, it was put together to create one beautiful, colorful masterpiece.

Panel 69 contains scenes of men on horses fighting other men on the ground with long spears and swords. The main yarn colors used in the scene are terracotta, blue-green, gold, olive green, and blue with light yellow also intertwined with the other colors. In this scene I think that the Normans attack viciously as they fight on their horses with spears and swords, stabbing the men on the grounds that carry shields in the design of a twisted X.  I think that this piece of the art was used to show the nature of the battle as numerous horses ride towards the enemy. I think that is starts to show a victory as you look at the different scenes after this panel as it describes how Harold is struck, and Normans become victorious. While also included in the scene is Latin words, which according to many sites, state that in my panel, it is saying that the men who were with Harold fell and here King Harold was killed.

As fighting scenes are viewed throughout many of the panels, there is also some scenes of nudity as well, although not in my panel, I thought it was interesting that they also included nudity in a piece of art like this as well. I think it shows how nudity was an important aspect to display, to show more meaning to the art. Although my scene showed mostly men fighting on horses, it was interesting looking at the detail put into this panel. As you look above, on both top and bottom of the panel there are borders that have detailed embroiders as well.

Throughout each border are men, who all look slightly different, that carry bow and arrows. There are bags filled with arrows in front of the men, while they all point in the direction of the enemy. All wear similar types of clothing, which I believe shows how they were all on the same side. I thought this bottom border had a lot of detail because each man has a different face shape/expression, some have a beard, while others don’t; showing that a lot of time was put into this stitching.  While the top borders show a lot of mythological creatures such as dragons, lions, and hunter-type images which I think adds meaning as well.

As so much detail was put into this piece, it is remarkable how it could last so long many years later. The detail in this panel is absolutely incredible. The Bayeux Tapestry shows the detail of the horses, the face expressions, the clothing, and armor. It is so well detailed that you can almost imagine in your head the whole day this battle took place. You see the detailed weapons of the Norman horseman; every character throughout the tapestry plays a role. With this well-detailed panel, you can almost tell everything that’s going on just by looking at each man. As one man tries to remove an arrow from his body, you get a sense of who will be victorious.

Bibliography

Aemma. (2000, October 20). A Guide to the Bayeux Tapestry . Retrieved from http://www.aemma.org/onlineResources/bayeux/bayeuxIndex1.html

Bayeux Tapestry. (2013, May 12). Retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Tapestry#Construction.2C_design_and_technique

Bloch, H. (2006). A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making and Meaning of the Bayeux Tapestry. Random House.

Brown, S. A. (1988). The Bayeux Tapestry: History and Bibliography. Boydell: Woodbridge Press.

Ingram, J. (2008, December 12). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Retrieved from Yale Law School: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/angsax.asp

Propaganda on cloth. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Bayeux Tapestry, after 1066: http://www.all-art.org/history194-29tapestry.html

UNESCO. (n.d.). Bayeux Tapestry. Retrieved from Tapestry or embroidery ?: http://www.tapestry-bayeux.com/

Wilson, D. The Bayeux Tapestry.

 

 

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